The Pekin boys basketball team scored only one point against Peoria Richwoods in the second quarter Tuesday night and never led in regulation time.
In the end, it didn't matter.
The Dragons defeated the Knights 49-47 in overtime in front of a big crowd in Dawson Hawkins Gymnasium and moved on to the quarterfinals of the 52nd annual Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament.
Next for Pekin (4-6) is No. 1 seed United Township (11-0, ranked No. 7 in Class 4A). The Dragons and Panthers will meet at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday in Hawkins Gym.
Carter Taphorn's triple from the baseline with 3:26 to go in the extra session gave Pekin its first lead (42-39) over Richwoods and Christian Hill's pinpoint pass to Ben Cash for a layup made it 44-39.
A free throw by Zach Sullivan, a pair of foul shots by Mason Carr and a layup by Taphorn off a Richwoods turnover kept the Knights (5-5) at bay the rest of the way.
Pekin trailed 16-11 at halftime and fell behind by eight points (21-13) early in the third quarter before mounting a stirring comeback with a barrage of 3-point shots.
The Dragons were 7-for-15 from behind the arc in the second half and overtime. They almost won in regulation time, but Cash's jumper at the buzzer failed to drop.
"We didn't do a good job sharing the basketball in the first half. We did a phenomenal job of doing that in the second half and overtime," said Pekin coach Jeff Walraven.
"Our defense keeps us in games, like it did (against Richwoods). Whether we make our shots determines if we win or not," he said.
Cash led Pekin with 16 points. Hill had 11 and Taphorn had 10. Hill scored all his points in the third and fourth quarters. Taphorn had eight points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Dallas Bryson topped Richwoods with 13 points and Jaydion Davis had 12. They scored 20 of their combined 25 points in the paint. The 6-foot-6 Bryson had a game-high nine rebounds.
"Those two guys are a ton," Walraven said.
Winning its opening-round tournament game is a huge goal for Pekin each season because it means the Dragons will play their next three tournament games in Hawkins Gym instead of moving downstairs to Custer-Stoudt Gym for at least the next two games.
Pekin has won its first tournament game in 48 of 52 years. Its lone losses came in 1986, 1993, 2005 and 2008.
"Yes, there's a lot of extra pressure to win the first tournament game," said Carr, one of Pekin's seven seniors. "We've been telling the young guys about the importance of the game."
Carr's old-fashioned three-point play with 2:51 to go in regulation made it 39-39. Richwoods had led since Bryson scored the game's first basket.